WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA is seeking proposals from researchers interested in testing new technologies during suborbital flights. The agency also is requesting information from commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicle providers and commercial payload integrators about carrying the technology payloads.
The selected payloads will fly on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on suborbital reusable launch vehicles capable of flying to altitudes above 62 miles. The flights will expose the payloads to reduced gravity and near-zero gravity environments.
"During these flights, researchers will be able to test their technologies in a range of microgravity environments and share their data with NASA -- data NASA can use when planning future missions," said Bobby Braun, NASA chief technologist at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
The solicitation is being made by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program, which is designed to foster development of a commercial reusable suborbital transportation industry while developing new technologies and improving microgravity research. When available, such reusable vehicles will provide lower-cost, more frequent, and more reliable access to space.
Technology flights are expected to reduce risks associated with emerging technologies and procedures, and overall space operations in future missions, by demonstrating applications in a relevant environment.
The solicitation for suborbital flights is open until Dec. 31, 2014. Applications for the first round of flights are due by Jan. 31, 2011. Responses to the request for information about services of commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicle providers are due Jan. 20, 2011. Participation in both activities is open to all categories of organizations.
The Flight Opportunities Program, part of NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, integrates the existing Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research and Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology programs. The Flight Opportunities Program is managed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.
The announcement of opportunity can be viewed at:
For more information about NASA's Flight Opportunities Program, visit: